Statement By Minister Broten On Deadline For Negotiations, New CUPE Agreement
Today, Laurel Broten, Minister of Education, issued the following statement about the upcoming deadline for local bargaining and a new agreement with the Canadian Union of Public Employees:
"Tomorrow - December 31, 2012, at 11:59 P.M. - is the negotiating deadline for teachers and support staff. Local agreements are to be submitted to the Ministry of Education under the Putting Students First Act. At this point, over 60 ratified local agreements have been submitted. I am hopeful that those school boards, teachers and support staff who have yet to conclude and submit local agreements will do so. I am also hopeful that those agreements, should they arrive, will meet the fair and balanced standards that were clearly set out in the Putting Students First Act.
I am also pleased to announce that after an additional 30 hours of discussions, the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE) has signed a tentative template agreement for their 55,000 members. I want to thank CUPE for working with us to find a way forward before the deadline. As CUPE requires ratification of these agreements by their membership, we are prepared to provide locals and boards with 14 additional days to do just that.
This last-minute agreement demonstrates that it is possible to find solutions when we remain focused on putting students first.
There has been ample time and sufficient opportunity to reach agreements that are fair to teachers and support staff while also being fair to Ontarians who expect us to protect the gains made in our schools.
We started discussions with our partners in February - almost a year ago. There has been over 10 months of negotiations and hundreds of hours at the table. I personally have met and spoken with unions and associations 80 times. As a result, we have seen agreements reached representing 55,000 teachers, over 4,000 support staff in the province, and now 55,000 CUPE educational workers. I want to thank those who worked with us, even up to the final hours, to find a way forward together. It's proof to the Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO), which spent only an hour in negotiations, and the Ontario Secondary School Teachers' Federation (OSSTF) that when I spoke with them almost 10 days ago there was still time left to negotiate.
By midnight tomorrow night, all negotiations must be finalized and agreements submitted. To those school boards and unions which have yet to come to terms on fair, balanced and responsible contracts, I say to you that it is time to end the uncertainty for students, parents and taxpayers and get back to doing what we do best: putting students first. We can start by respecting tomorrow's deadline and we can continue by ending labour unrest in our schools.
The deadline for negotiations will conclude tomorrow at midnight, and I will be available on January 3, 2013 at 10 a.m. to discuss further details and the government's next steps to put students first."